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Odysseus As An Epic Hero Essay

In the story of the Odyssey, Odysseus was put through many ordeals through which we see his moral and physical characteristics. After evaluating such characteristics we can see that Odysseus is a great epic hero. We can see that not only is he superior to most mortal men, he also shares many of the same desires, therefore fulfilling all the technical requirements of a “hero”. Odysseus has insight about his own fate and destiny, but lives intertwined with the Olympic Gods. He also shares many of the same desires as the common man, but has more insight and strength to obtain them. Lastly, the story of Odysseus is tragic, and involves both love and death, which then shows his true strength.

When Odysseus ventures out on his journey, he is told by Athena that he is destined to be great, and through the whole war he knows that. When the war is finished he continues his journey home to his wife, his mother and his son. On his journey home he is faced with several obstacles put in place by the Gods to prevent his return. The whole time he was detained from retuning to Ithaca he told himself that he was meant to return home; that it was fated to him. When he was trapped on the Island with Calypso, he told her that he was supposed to return home, and that he would do it no matter what stood in his way. Through these acts we can see that he had his own opinions on his destiny, but that he was closely intertwined with the Olympic Gods.

Secondly, Odysseus shares many of the same desires as the common man, but he has more insight and strength on how to obtain them. Odysseus wanted more than anything to return home to his family, however, throughout his journey he was constantly held back by the Gods. He was made to observe horrendous things such as visiting Hades, and shortly after he has to witness each of his crewmates be eaten alive. This would have been enough for the common man to give up hope and settle in on Calypso’s island. Odysseus, however, never gave up and always found the strength and the wisdom to carry on. This shows that if put in the same position, Odysseus would succeed over the common man because he is heroic.

Lastly, the story of Odysseus is filled with both love and death, which is a main characteristic of a heroic tale. While Odysseus is trying to return home he sees a vision of his dead mother. She explains to him how she took her own life because she could no longer bare waiting for him. On top of this painful information, she discloses that his home; his palace has been taken over by ruthless men who are trying to steal his wife. After learning of this horrible news he continues on his journey even more determined than before. Shortly after this event, he loses his entire crew to monsters that eat each one alive. He still continues on alone. This proves that even through the tragic events that happen in his long journey he manages to stay strong and make it home.

Through close evaluation of all events that took place in The Odyssey we can clearly see that Odysseus is in fact a great epic hero. We see that he has insight about his own fate and desires, he shares many of the same desires as the common man, but has greater insight and strength, and lastly he manages to survive through several tragic evens simply for the love of his family. Taking these events into consideration we can deduce that Odysseus is a great epic hero.


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